Daley heads to China for Olympics

August 4, 2008 10:20:51 AM PDT
Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley is leaving for Beijing, China, today to get a first hand look at what it takes to stage the Summer Olympic Games.Mayor Daley is planning to do more than attend sporting events. This trip is part of the city's push to bring the 2016 Summer Games to Chicago.

Mayor Daley is flying out Monday afternoon. He'll be gone for a week, traveling with the delegation from Chicago. While they're over there, they'll be looking at just about everything surrounding the Olympic Games: the venues, the transportation and security and, of course, trying to score a few points with members of the International Olympic Committee.

The Chinese have invested billions transforming the city of Beijing for the Summer Olympic Games. There is a new transit system, dozens of new buildings, even new neighborhoods.

"When you read about it and see pictures, it's changed dramatically. Shanghai and Beijing, the move of the changes happen so quickly. Communities are built up within a year," said Mayor Daley.

Mayor Daley visited Beijing about two years ago, when the city of Chicago began its Olympic bid. At that time, many of the venues in china Were under construction. U.S Olympic Committee Members already in Beijing say they are impressed with what they have seen.

"I wouldn't want to follow them. So, London, good luck," said Steve Roush, U.S.O.C. chief of sport performance.

"The entire process is very complex, but I'm sure we'll be sort of shocked by the scale of it," said Patrick Ryan, Chicago 2016 chairman.

During the visit, Mayor Daley and the delegation from Chicago will try and get as much face time as possible with members of the International Olympic Committee. The mayor will be looking closely at everything from crowd control, housing for the athletes and transportation for spectators.

The mayor says he wants to learn as much as possible and also says the 2016 Games would look much different if held in Chicago.

"It would be different--the venues. But they'll be able to use it because there are so many people, 30 million, 40 million people in the city," said Mayor Daley.

According to the mayor's office, the week-long trip will be paid for entirely by private funds raised by Chicago's Olympic committee.

Daley will return on August 12.


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